The future of the Occupy Wall Street protests remains in doubt, after a court upheld Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s decision to evict the 24/7 encampments from lower Manhattan. Similar efforts in other cities to rein in the protests have been undertaken, most notably in Oakland, after someone was shot and killed near the protest site in that city.
The Occupy Wall Street movement should declare victory but they should not go home, if by “go home” we mean abandon the field. Their victory lay in the fact that the protests have changed the national discussion, inserting a new metaphor, the 99%, into our nation’s political discourse. They have reinserted some populist vigor into the left, reminding the country that it is not only government bureaucracy that threatens Americans’ freedom and prosperity, but the decisions and practices of the titans of the financial class. They took the Republican charge that the Democrats were engaged in class warfare and turned it on its head by pointing out that there is already some degree of class warfare going on, but only one side in that war has been fighting and winning for lo, these many years.